Meet Nick

I’m using this snowday to type up a little interview I did with Nick this past week.  Read on…

Quick Facts
Name: Nick Balentine A.K.A. Superman
Age: 17, Bday 6/14
Position: Dishwasher
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Burgers
Favorite WHBC beer: Underage!
Education: Smithfield High
WHBC: Hey Nick, how long have you worked here?
Nick: It’s been about a year.
WHBC: You’re done with school this month right?  What are your plans now? (A high school senior’s favorite question, I know)
N: Well, I’m done with classes this month, but I will walk with my class to graduate in January.  I plan to go into the Navy next year.
WHBC: Right!  You’re from a Navy family, yes?
N: Yeah, my mom was in the Navy and my dad still is.  He’s been in for 20 years.
WHBC: That’s awesome; what does he do?
N: He’s an Aviation Boatswain Mate.
WHBC: Is that what you want to do also?  Or something different?
N: For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go into the Navy.  I’ve wanted to enlist and do exactly what my dad does.
WHBC: So when do you plan to start your career?
N: Probably next year; I’d like one more round of holidays at home before leaving.
WHBC: You have siblings at home too?
N: I’ve got two younger brothers.
WHBC:  So what do you do in your spare time?
N: I hang out at my grandparents’ house and help them out.
WHBC: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
N: Probably country; my favorite group is Florida Georgia Line.
WHBC: Ever seen them in concert?
N:  Nope.
WHBC: Well, there’s your fist bucket list item.  Speaking of that…any other things already on that list?
N: Go to Hawaii and Australia.  And go skydiving.
WHBC: Oh gosh…sky diving.  I’m terrified of the thought.  But Hawaii was definitely worth the trip!
WHBC: Last question…if you could talk to any person (or group of people) from history, who would it be and why?
N: Ronald Reagan because he’s one of my favorite presidents and I feel like it would be cool to talk to him.
WHBC: What words of wisdom do you have for those younger than you?
N: I guess to not worry about what other people say or are doing.  Just keep your head down and focus on what you want to do.
Wondering what it’s like to work with Nick?  He’s almost always upbeat and encouraging of everyone around him.  I’ve known him to just tell someone they’re doing great out of the blue.
Joe says, “He’s a hard worker and easy to get along with…until he starts talking about the Patriots.”
Brooke: “Nick is very nice and always helpful.”
Kylee: “He talks too much and always wears a Superman shirt, but he shares his Skittles with me, so he’s alright in my book!”

Posted in Uncategorized | Continue reading...

Meet Aubrey

Summer has passed, and we have a little downtime, so we are getting back into our Staff Spotlights.  So kick back and meet Aubrey!

Quick Facts
Name: Aubrey Redditt
Age: 23, Bday 2/22
Position: Server
Hometown: Alexandria then Hampton
Favorite WHBC food: Different Chicken
Favorite WHBC beer: Not a beer drinker, but I like sours
Education: Smithfield High, then Thomas Nelson
WHBC: What did you go to Thomas Nelson for?
Aubrey: Elementary education.  I wanted to teach Kindergarten because small children understand me and I understand them.
WHBC: What did you do after you left Thomas Nelson?
A: I worked at Food Lion as a cake decorator.  I worked there for 5 years total.
WHBC: So what was the weirdest thing you ever had to put on a cake?
A: I never had to put anything weird on any, but once I ordered one for a grown adult that read “I’m sorry you pooped the bed.”
WHBC: HAHAHA.  We will not reveal names to protect the innocent and stinky.  So how long have you worked here?
A: Since we opened. I’m an original.
WHBC: You are indeed.  So this round of interviews, I’ve asked our customers to give us some questions to ask.  First one – what is your spirit animal?
A: A sloth. I have a personal attachment to sloths.  When I was younger, I did an overly elaborate trifold presentation on sloths and it was chosen to be in the glass case at the front of the school.  It made an impact.
WHBC: Perfect!  You should look up pangolins too.  They’re quite something.  So moving on to some more of your favorite things…enlighten us.
A: Pizza with pineapple, reading a variety of things (I really liked Looking for Alaska), watching Netflix.
WHBC: Oooh.  What are your go to Netflix shows?
A: Atypical, which you would really like.  The Office (American version), Parks & Rec.
WHBC: So that’s TV, what about music.  If you were only able to listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
A: Blink 182
WHBC:  So do you sing in the shower?
A: I am so blind, so all of my brainpower goes into not hurting myself while I’m in there.  I don’t sing haha.
WHBC: What if you had the opportunity to talk to anyone in history?  Who would it be?
A: Probably the committee who demoted Pluto.  They have some things to explain.  **Side note – super funny 6 minute podcast skit about the demotion of Pluto can be heard by clicking here. Done by The Fabrications with guest appearance by your friendly neighborhood bartender.**
WHBC: Yeah, I had some questions about that too, but I totally get it. So we are going to do some word association.  I will give you a word, and you give me the first thing you think of.  Reader note: I am not offering any elaboration on her answers to allow you to use your imagination.
A:  Okay, wait, I have to stop thinking about penguins first.
WHBC: Hahaha.  Probably a good start.  First word: Halloween
A: Michael Myers
WHBC: Second word: Necessary
A: birds
WHBC: Last word: Comfortable
A: Mocassins
WHBC: You crack me up.  Okay, a couple more questions.  What is one big misconception people have about you?  For example, when I first met you, I called you Grumpy Cat if you remember.  I thought you were always in a bad mood, but that’s the exact opposite of true.
A: That’s it.  Most people first think I’m grumpy.  I don’t know why.  Honestly, I’m the most uninteresting person in the world; if it weren’t for my sense of humour, I wouldn’t have much going for me.
WHBC: Well, I find you delightful.  I need you to tell me some words of wisdom for the younger generation.
A: I think you should try harder in high school.  If I had tried harder, I’d be in a totally different spot.  And only care about things worth caring about; the things YOU think you should care about.   Give a damn, but give the appropriate damns.*    *Quote edited to avoid using a worse curse word.  But if you want to figure out what the quote would actually have said, you may want to search for a certain book by Mark Manson with a bright orange cover.
WHBC: So very perfect.  Thanks for taking the time to hang with me today.
Read on to hear what fellow staff members love most about Aubrey.
Preston: “Aubrey is most likely to be famous for a hilarious, anonymous gossip column.  Most likely to make millions for it…famous and anonymous is possible.  She also has the most tea at Wharf Hill.”
Chloe: ” ‘It’s my world, y’all just living in it.’ That’s a direct quote from her lol.  But working with Aubrey is extremely chill; she’s always super mellow but happy and somewhat bubbly.  I think it’s safe to say it’s like working with a Sprite!”
Alexis: “Working with Aubrey can be very interesting.  I love listening to her wild stories every shift.  It’s a blast and I enjoy working with her!”
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Justin

 Things were a little busy for us this fall, so I’ve been slacking on the staff interviews.  But I am back on track, and ready to present the next Staff Spotlight.  Let’s meet Justin…
Quick Facts:
Name: Justin Walker
Age: 16, bday 2/15
Position: Line Cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC food: Blackened chicken marinara
Education: Junior, Smithfeld High School
WHBC: You seem to be here every time I come in.  How long have you worked here?
Justin: My dad told me about 9 months ago they were looking for a dishwasher.  So that’s how I started.  The guys on the line encouraged me to start cooking, so I’ve been doing that about a month.
WHBC: What do you do on the line?
J: Normally I work the fryer, but I’m learning how to call out orders and work the grill now too.
WHBC: Your dad is a great chef – do you ever cook with him at home?
J: No, he’s really good at it, so I just let him do it.
WHBC: Is this something you can see yourself making a career of?
J: Maybe.  I want to go to college, though I don’t know where yet. I was thinking culinary or accounting.
WHBC: That’s quite a difference in subject.  I get the culinary, but why accounting?
J: I’m really good with numbers and math so it would make sense.  I have good grades in school; I’ve already gotten a scholarship through my high school.  I’m good at everything except Spanish.
WHBC: I’ve been told that actually.  I almost started out your interview asking you questions exclusively in Spanish to torture you, but thought better of it!  Well, that covers work and school; what do you do for fun?
J: Really just hang out with friends, go workout or play basketball at the Y.
WHBC: Any quirky hobbies?
J: Not really.  Well, I like sneakers.
WHBC: So you’re a sneakerhead?  Is that still a word or am I sounding old?
J: Haha.  No, that’s a thing.  Yeah, I have 11 or 12 pairs of basketball shoes.  My favorite pair is my new Jordan 1s.
WHBC: You’ve got 12 pair?!  That’s…{insert pause here while I roll my eyes into my brain doing mental math}…enough money to buy a decent used car!
J: Yeah, haha.  I’ll buy a car eventually.  I won’t have my license until March.
WHBC: So when you do get your vehicle and license, where is the first place (other than work or school) you’ll go?
J: Virginia Beach with friends probably.
WHBC:  Traveling…if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to be?
J: So many places! I have family all over the place!  I guess Italy first.  It looks nice and the food is great.  But Europe in general; England, Sweden, Iceland.
WHBC: You do have family everywhere!  Your parents and siblings are all still in this area, yes?
J: Yes. I live with my mom.
WHBC: You were born and raised here.  What is one of your funniest childhood memories?
J: Haha.  When I was 6 years old, I fell into a fire.  We had just finished cutting down a tree.  I was just walking along and tripped over the stump, stepped on a nail, then fell into the fire.  I remember my parents bringing me in and sitting me in a green chair with a bunch of ice packs.
WHBC: Oh gosh.  Did this traumatize you at all?  I mean, do you still like bonfires?  You’re not a pyromaniac now or anything like that are you?
J: No. Haha. No trauma!
WHBC: Well, I know from experience you are a very talented french fry thrower.  Other than the art of potato throwing, what interests you?
J: I like all kinds of history.  I like to look at different kinds of cars too.  One day I want to get something older, like a McLaren P1.
WHBC: High hopes are good! So last question before I send you on your way, tell me about one person you’d like to meet.
J: Bill Gates, I think.  He’s super rich and intelligent, and I think I could probably learn a lot from him.
WHBC: Fair enough!  Thanks for taking some time to chat!
J: You’re welcome!
So what’s it like working with Justin?  Let’s see..
Girl Sam: “He’s an awesome worker.  And he always keeps me smiling and laughing!”
Joe: “I like working with him.  It’s been fun helping him and watching him learn.”
Will: “He’s a good guy to work with.”
And I will say, he is always smiling and in a good mood most every time I see him!  He has fun, but gets his job done.
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet the new brewers!

As many of you have heard by now, Greg Bullis, our original brewer has left the pub.  We saw this as an opportunity to make some changes and try new things.  I’m introducing you today to Ryan Phenicie and Sam Horchler, our new WHBC brewers.  These guys came in full force, cleaning the entire brewery top to bottom. No keg unturned, they turned the brewery into their own; cleaning, reorganizing, planning, and brewing.  So far they’ve put out the new and improved Isle of Wheat as well as our Outage IPA.  They’ve got an Old English Ale coming at you soon, but in the meantime, let’s hear from them…



WHBC: Why did you want to step in and be the new brewers?

Sam: I’m a big fan of beer. haha.  And it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

Ryan: I’m very interested in brewing.  I’ve been home brewing for a few years now.  I keep a kegerator stocked at home with my own brews on tap.  So this just fit!

WHBC: Given the last couple months, and the foray into unintentional sours, I think it’s important to tell our beer drinking public what the brewing process actually entails.  In layman’s terms, of course.

Ryan: So, for a regular batch, we steep 300 pounds of grain (mash) – this takes the proteins and sugars out of the grain.  It’s then boiled for an hour and hops are added in.  After the brew kettle is drained, we move the beer over to the fermenters where yeast is added and we let science do its thing.  It ferments for about two weeks, then gets kegged and rested for a week.  When the whole process is done, we fill the brew kettle with boiling water and brewing sanitizer and run that through all our lines.  Someone physically climbs into the fermenters to scrub them out when they’ve been emptied. It’s a small space to get into.  We don’t have any midgets to do this job for us, but we have Sam and he’s pretty skinny!

WHBC: Haha.  Thanks for the explanation!  So another thing I want to make sure our customers know – what is ABV and IBU?!

Ryan: ABV is Alcohol by volume.  It’s the percentage of beer that’s alcoholic.  To increase this number, you use more grain per batch because that equals more protein and more sugar for the yeast to interact with.  IBU is the International Bitterness Unit, which measures the hop content in beer.  The more hops, the higher the IBU.

WHBC: How are you picking new beers to brew?

Ryan: Well, we’re still brewing some of the old ones.  The new one coming up is my recipe and I know it’s a good one.  Eventually, Sam and I will start collaborating on some brand new stuff once we get into the swing of things.

WHBC: What is the biggest problem you run into when brewing?

Sam: Actually this first batch when really, really well!  The biggest thing for me is the brewery just gets so hot!  And it’s a long process; each brew day is about 10 hours.  Of course, that will get a little faster as we get used to working with each other.

WHBC: What’s the most fun thing about brewing?
Sam: I like taking on the new project and making it our own.  It’s fun brewing here too – it’s just like hanging out and listening to some good music while we work.  It’s just fun.

Ryan: The best part is the nice cold, crisp beer at the end!

WHBC: Do you have a dream beer – one you’d brew regardless of cost?

Ryan: An Icebock.  You make a big batch, freeze it and then poke a hole in the middle.  All the water gets frozen out so it’s a strong beer.  I wouldn’t do anything with fancy flavors though.

Sam: An Irish Red.  They’re just not very common anymore, so I would brew one of my own.

WHBC: SO is epic facial hair a requirement to be a successful brewer? haha

Ryan: Clearly not – look at me!  Sam has beard enough for both of us!

WHBC: Well, what else should we all know?

Sam& Ryan: The whole issue with the beers going sour was just a lack of control and oversight of the process we think.  That said, we are out in front of it now.  We are paying attention to every little detail and spent two straight weeks cleaning the system out to start from scratch.  Things are going to be all good from here on out.

WHBC: Thanks so much guys.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I can already tell just by looking around the brewery, the change will be a great one!  Cheers!


Posted in Uncategorized | Continue reading...

Meet Rachel

The next spotlight  in our “Meet Wharf Hill” series is pointing at Rachel.  You’ve seen her and her amazing smile on any given night at the pub.  Now we can get to know her a little better…


Quick Facts:
Name: Rachel George
Age: 21 (or as she calls it, 20-fun)
Birthday: June 10th
Position: Server
Birthplace: Hampton, VA
Favorite Beer: Porter
Favorite Foods: Our seafood and salads, Fried Green Tomatoes, Tuna Bites
Education: Smithfield High, CNU, and TCC

WHBC: How long have you worked at Wharf Hill?
Rachel: Since the 2nd week we were open.  My friend worked in the kitchen and told me to come apply.  I came in for dinner one crazy, chaotic Friday night and decided I really wanted to work here!  Robert came to my table and told me to come back Monday and talk to the manager haha.
WHBC: Where were you working before?
R: I had worked at Vintage Tavern as a server for a while and the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club as a lifeguard, babysitter, and server.  I went to work at a doggy day care after that because I just wanted a break from people.  I used to have horses, so I’m used to dirty work, but I liked going in and hanging out with the dogs everyday.
WHBC: So tell me what the best part of working here is.
R: We are a big dysfunctional family! haha.  We all have different personalities and I just love learning about people.  Everyone here is passionate and we give everyone who comes in a great experience.
WHBC: Do you have some favorite regulars?
R: Oh no!  I don’t want to leave anyone out!!  My guys on Wednesday nights who give me ties, all the running club people.  I’ve made so many connections with so many great people who come in here.  It’s nice to go into town and see people I know.  Definitely more positive than negative!
WHBC: How do you mean?
R: Well, sometimes it gets a little crazy, especially cocktailing.  Once in a while someone will come in and you just know they’re having a bad day and nothing anyone says helps.  I just take a deep breath and remember it is about them, not me, and I try to make their day better.
WHBC: That’s a cool perspective!  Is being the cocktail waitress your favorite?
R: I don’t have a favorite.  I love cocktailing because it’s super challenging, especially on Friday nights.  I know I’ll get my ass kicked, but it’s rewarding haha!  I like working the dining room too, though, because it’s more laid back.  And that’s probably better for my psyche!
WHBC: I agree balance is so important!  Speaking of…you are getting your yoga certification too, right?
R: I am!  I’m doing my 200 hour certification with Sarah.  I’m like her assistant; she’s taught me so much!  I feel like I’ve really found “my thing” with yoga.  We plan on having classes and teacher trainings when we get everything up and going.  We’ll call it Amor and Gratia, which means love and gratitude, and create videos and devotionals.  I like yoga because it’s not a competition, it’s a practice.  You get out what you put in.  You can burn out everything that’s been blocking your energy flow.  I think learning mindfulness has helped me at my job here too because I realize that everyone is dealing with something and it’s my job to give them a great hour and a half while they’re here.
WHBC: That’s great that you’ve found what you love!
R: There are so many things I have in mind!  I want to take my ADHD and use it for good haha!  I’m going back to school for business, I want to have a clothing line, I plan to be a young female Steve Jobs 🙂
WHBC: Good for you – that’s incredible!  Is this what you wanted to do when you were a child?
R: I just had this conversation with my brother last week!  We were talking about how all I wanted to do was help people!  I want to show people how to instill their own personal power so they can control themselves and their surroundings. I always wanted to help on a large scale, but didn’t know exactly how.  Yoga is a great way to do that, though.  Seeing my brother in downward dog was hilarious, but if I can get him practicing and getting better, that’s amazing!
WHBC: So, basically, peaceful world domination?
R: Haha.  Yes!  I would love to be a travel blogger too.
WHBC: Yes!  I love seeing all your travel adventures!  You seemed to have a quest this summer to find the best waterfalls in VA.
R: That’s pretty much what I was doing!  There are so many beautiful places in our state.  You can drive 2 hours and be somewhere great to hike.  All you need is some music and good friends to make it fun.  My mom lives in Colorado, so I went there also, and of course the mountains were beautiful!
WHBC: So what’s next on your travel calendar?  If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
R: Oh wow, there are so many places I’ve looked at! {breaks out phone to look at screenshots}  I don’t know if I could pick!  I guess I want to conquer the US first.  I’ll go to California on a visit with my mom; the Redwoods would be awesome.  Oregon, Washington, the Pacific Northwest, Jasper National Park in Canada.  I have a friend in Minnesota, so I can go visit there and head over the Canadian border.  If I have transportation and time, I’m gone!  Love to travel, but I’m a home base person.  My roots are still here, but I trust God and trust what I’m doing and know all will work out!
WHBC: You have a great travel companion; the cutest dog on Instagram.  Tell me about him.
R: His name is Floyd.  Floyd the Golden.  He’s 7 months old and goes on my adventures with me.  He loves still water, but not waves yet. Like most people, he’s capable of so much more than he thinks he is.  I baby him, but I make him try new things that he ends up liking.
WHBC: He seems like a cool dog!  We almost got our dog, Desi, to get into the water a couple weeks ago.  But she never got all the way in!  So last question…if you had any words of wisdom for your younger self, what would they be?
R: Don’t waste your time worrying that you’re not like everyone else.  Embrace YOU because there is no other like you.  You shine the brightest when you love everything you are.  Realize you are the one taking yourself places and no one else.  Oh and boys are stupid – be your own lover and best friend – be a strong woman.  Trust in the journey; you will crash and burn, but it’s all necessary to building to you will become.
WHBC: {And that’s when I realized when I grow up, I’d like to think like Rachel!}

Here’s what a few of Rachel’s coworkers had to say about her:

Joe: “She’s fun to work with and always has a positive attitude and really tries to be nice to everybody!”
Sarah: “She has a radiant glow to her. She can start a conversation with anyone. Absolutely the best!”
Malachi: “Rachel is s fun person to be around she’s such an uplighting person , if you are having a stressful day somehow she will change your mood in seconds to make the work day better!”
Posted in Uncategorized | Continue reading...

Meet Pam

Our spotlight this week in our “Meet Wharf Hill” series is shining on  Pam.  There is seriously nothing she can’t do; she keeps this place chugging right along.  I actually did her interview last week, but was a total slacker and not posting until now…

pam1Quick Facts:
Name: Pam Brock
Age: 45
Birthday: December 16th
Position: General Manager
Birthplace: Rescue, VA
Favorite Beer: Bell Ringer
Favorite Food: I like it all!
Education: Smithfeld High

WHBC: How long have you worked at Wharf Hill?
Preston: Since we opened.  Robert called in January last year because I told him if he ever opened another restaurant, to call me and I’d be there in a heartbeat.  I worked for him at Battery Park Grille.
WHBC: What did you do before working in this industry?
P: I had a desk job before; office administrator.  I worked at Nistem Corporations, an act manufacturer, for 16 years.
WHBC: So why the switch after so long?
P: I switched because we decided I would take some time off to homeschool the kids.  I did that for a year, then started working at the Grille serving and bartending part time.  The kids went back to school the next year, so I started working full time.
WHBC: What do you like about working in a restaurant?
P: I like not sitting at a desk for 8 hours!  There’s a fast pace and it can be stressful for a short time only.  Other jobs it’s constant stress!
WHBC: How do you help pull the staff through stressful moments here?  How do you get through them?
P: I take a breath and tackle one task at a time; prioritize.  When it’s all said and done, you’re only one person and can only do so much at once.
WHBC: What’s best about working here?
P: The staff!  Other places I’ve worked, the staff doesn’t work as a team.  Here, most everyone pulls together.  I have never worked with a better staff.
WHBC: Of all the hats you wear here, what is your favorite?
P: I actually like it all.  Managing, office work, bartending; doing different things makes sure I don’t get burned out.
WHBC: Do you have any customers who stand out in your mind?
P: 3 o’clock Bob, Ed, Don & Candie; I’ve waited on them all for a while now!
WHBC: You’ve been in this area all your life, right?
P: I have.  I grew up in Rescue and moved to Suffolk after we got married. We’ve lived there with our 3 kids for 26 years.
WHBC: What do you all do for fun?
P: Camping!  I love hanging out with my family and everyone once in a while taking a girls’ night out.  When we go camping, we like hiking and riding bike trails.  Our favorite is Jellystone; there was always a lot to do for the kids like fishing and crabbing on the river.
WHBC: So when you were growing up, what did you want to do?
P: I wanted to work with computers.  My first job, I learned programming in DOS.  I’m telling my age there!  I did that for about 5 years, but then moved to my long term job to make more money.
WHBC: Is that something you still want to pursue or is what you are doing now your career?
P: I don’t really deal with computers anymore; everything has changed since I learned.  A few years ago, I played around making websites, but that’s about it.  Where I am now is where I think I’ll stay.
WHBC: So do you have any funny restaurant stories to share?
P: One day, a woman came in with a group of 3 other people.  She had a little Pomeranian service dog with her.  We sat them, and next time I looked around, I saw she had the dog sitting at the table in the high chair on a cushion.  I thought, “Now I’ve seen it all!”  It was pretty funny.
WHBC: Haha!  I’m not sure how I would react to coming around the corner to seeing something like that. Haha.  So last, question.  A request, really.  Please impart words of wisdom on anyone who is joining the restaurant industry.
P: Are you crazy?!?!  Haha.  Seriously, it can be rewarding and stressful all at the same time.  Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy that it’s always something different.

So read on to see what Pam’s coworkers have to say!

Tom: “She is one of the best people I’ve ever worked with.  I kinda followed her from restaurant to restaurant.”
Brooke: “Everyone is equal in her eyes and it shows, ask her mother.  There’s no guesswork; she’ll tell you as it is.  She craves cooperation and will work with you.  Pam is very professional and sometimes silly; a pleasure to work for and with!”
Preston: “When I first started working with her she was the most intimidating person at Wharf Hill, but now that I’ve befriended her she is one of my favorite people to work with. She is always there and always behind the scenes doing so much to make Wharf run smooth. And she knows her cocktails! haha”
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Sam

I caught up with Sam for a few minutes before his dinner shift last week.  Let’s meet him…
Quick Facts:
Name: Sam Horchler
Age: 26, Birthday 9/30
Position: Line Cook
Hometown: Lorton VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Outage IPA
Favorite WHBC Food: Non-wontons
Education: ODU-communications

WHBC: Hey there Man Sam!  I always call you Man Sam because my daughter is named Sam and I need to address you both differently.  So anyway, let’s get the usual stuff out of the way.  How long have you been working here at Wharf?
S: About 3 1/2 months.  My wife saw on Facebook they were hiring so I came in.  I ended up talking to Tami one day while I was here and she pulled my application to give to Dave.  So I guess that’s the first time drinking a beer got me a job haha!
WHBC: Why cooking?
S: I love to eat, I like to cook.  I wanted a career change.  This was my first job cooking and I started right on the line.  Trial by fire, right?
WHBC: That’s right!  What kind of career change?
S: I worked in security for three years, two years as a supervisor.  I worked at a retirement community.  My job was to just keep people safe.  We had an Alzheimers unit, so we had some runners sometimes.  But mostly it was old ladies who locked themselves out or needed help plugging in TVs. I definitely prefer my job now!
WHBC: What do you like best about it?
S: Everything and everyone.  It’s fun.  It’s almost like coming to just hang out with friends and cook while we’re here.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
S: Not really; everyone is really great.  Will is hilarious.  Joe and Ryan are funny too.  But really everyone!
WHBC: Awesome! So are you married?  Have kids?  Fur children?
S: I am married; I met my wife in college.  We have two cats.
WHBC: What do you do for fun?
S: I like to write – fiction and short stories.
WHBC: What’s your favorite genre to write in?
S: Horror because it’s just interesting.  When you read a lot, sometimes stories get predictable, but with horror it’s not that way.  It’s surprising.
WHBC: How long have you been writing?
S: Off and on for a long time, but I really got into at my old job.  I worked the night shift, so it was pretty boring.  I had a lot of down time.  I worked at my hometown newspaper for a while too, but journalism is a dying industry.  You can’t write well if you have to bang it out whether you care about what you’re writing about or not.  It’s work, but not in a good way.  I believe it’s good for your mind and soul to write out what’s in your head.
WHBC: I totally agree.  I dabble in writing poetry, but that’s about it.  What else do you do in your spare time?
S:  Woodworking, carving furniture.  It’s nothing great, but it’s serviceable.  I like to shoot; I shoot my guns once a week or so.  I do range shooting and hand loading, which is a hobby in itself.  Doing that though really cuts down the cost of the shooting hobby because I’m filling the bullets myself.
WHBC: So you’ve got a degree in Communications.  You’re a line cook here.  Any of this line up with your childhood dreams?  What did you want to be when you grew up?
S:  A wizard.  Just putting it out there.  I still hold out hope.
{I have to tell you at this point I am laughing hysterically because that is hands down one of the funniest and honest answers I’ve ever gotten to any question!}
WHBC: Hahaha.  And what were your goals with that?  Would you use your power for good or evil?
S: The goal?  World domination.  I’d like to think I’d use my power for good.  I’d use my power to pick up chics instead of destroying the world. haha.
WHBC: That in itself requires its own kind of superpower to accomplish!  When you had these dreams of being a wizard, what did you look like?  Full on Gandalf or…?
S: Totally unassuming.  I would blend in.
WHBC: So your new nickname is Sam the Unassuming Wizard, although that’s a bit more wordy than Man Sam.  I like it better though. Haha.
S: I actually got a call back for a job interview one time because I put down on my application that I wanted to be a wizard.  The guy hiring said he just had to talk to me!
WHBC: You seem like a pretty funny guy.  Anything super funny happen to you while here at work?
S: Not specifically.  It’s just a good, fun atmosphere here.  My last job was literally militant.  My boss ran it like a ship – very rigid and corporate.  That burns you out.  I think that’s why I like it here so much – it’s just the polar opposite.
WHBC: Your degree – any plans to use that or is this your career now?
S: This is it right now.  I would love to teach college English someday.  Regardless of what I end up doing, I think this will be a part of it. I thought about becoming a Private Investigator, but to hang my own shingle…I couldn’t make a living that way. Maybe that will be my retirement plan.
WHBC: Do you enjoy traveling or are you more of a homebody?
S: We travel to Jacksonville a lot to see my wife’s family.  We love going to Charlottesville.  You can throw a rock there and hit a craft brewery; it’s fun.  We never had a honeymoon, so if we went out of the country to travel, I think we’d go to the UK and Ireland someday.  My wife’s family, way back in the day, owned County Cork in Ireland.
WHBC: Sweet!  Ireland is on my list too!  So, Sam the Unassuming Wizard, if you were able to speak to your younger self, what would you say?
S: What the hell are you doing?!  I goofed around a lot as a teen, tested a lot of boundaries.  But I guess you have to – isn’t that the reason for adolescence?  I wouldn’t change anything though I don’t think.  Because your personality is just a collection of experiences and if you change one thing, you change your whole self.  Looking back I wouldn’t have gone to ODU, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have met my wife.  See what I mean?
WHBC: I get it, seriously. That’s one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard!  So lastly, words of wisdom for someone who wants to follow in your career footsteps?
S: Pay attention, ask questions, and keep your head down.  Even if you’ve been through culinary school, you still have to learn the ropes.  Take it seriously.  Get here on time and work hard.  The worst thing you can be is unreliable.
WHBC: Well said!  Thanks for a great interview, Sam!

Want to know what it’s like working with Sam?  Read on…
Girl Sam: “Man Sam works really hard and taught me all the workings of the fryer!  I love working with him because he is funny and nice to everyone.”
Nick: “If you have ever wondered what it’s like to work with Peter Parker from Spiderman, it’s like that.”
Kyle: “Sam is eager to learn and always on time.  You can tell he loves what he does.”
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Tami

Poor Tami had to wait forever it seems for her interview.  I was on vacation, then had surgery so I was laid up and couldn’t write or type!  So here we are…meet Tami!
Tami 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Tami Ducceschi
Age: 36, Birthday April 22
Position: Bartender/Manager
Hometown: Virginia Beach VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Bell Ringer – it removes all motivation to be productive for the rest of the day!
Favorite WHBC Food: Crab cakes
Education: VA Wesleyan and TCC

WHBC: Your hometown is Virginia Beach – how did you get to be out here?
T: My husband and I have a blended family; 4 boys between us.  We needed a bigger house to raise our family in.  So we started looking around and decided to drive out here one day.  And we kept driving, and driving, and driving.  Haha.  It felt like we wouldn’t stop.  But we found a home in Windsor in 2012 and love it.  I prefer being here in the country to the beach.
WHBC: I’m sorry.  You just said 4 boys.  They must keep you on your toes!
T: They do.  They’re 8, 13, 14, and 15.  It could be worse; they could all be girls haha!!  They are all really go kids.  They are all so different; they do their own things so they don’t fight much.  I’m very lucky.  They all know what is expected of them.  My husband and I run a pretty tight ship.  The boys know the rules and follow them.  Most of the time.
WHBC: What do you like to do as a family?
T: Camping and traveling.  We’ve been to Pocahontas, Cherrystone, North Landing, Kiptopeke, Lake Gaston.  We just got a boat and finished out boater safety course, so we are looking forward to wake boarding, fishing, and crabbing.
WHBC: What’s been your favorite family trip?
T: I would say when we went to Disney.  They were all little and could enjoy it.  We went to Massanutten also.  I had tried skiing before and swore I’d never do it again, but we took a lesson there and I tried again and found out I really like it!  Snowboarding not so much.
T: I am very family oriented, and family doesn’t always mean blood.  We are very fortunate to have a couple of families we camp with who we are very close to; we have a solid friend group.  I like my house to be the place where we have bonfires and everyone hangs out and comes together.
WHBC: Very cool!  Do you have family nearby?
T: My mom and grandparents used to live in Virginia Beach, but moved out here near us.  After my mom passed last year, I started being the one to take care of my grandparents.  They’ve since moved to Hampton and I don’t see them often.  My great aunt still lives at the beach, and I take care of her making sure she has what she needs.  I’m the only family she has left.
WHBC: Wow what a full plate you’ve got!  When are able to slow down and relax a bit, what do you like to do?
T: I do genealogy.  Once I start doing that, it’s hard to stop.  I just keep making connection after connection and all of a sudden, the day has gone by.  My dad told me at one time we were related to Stonewall Jackson so I’m trying to figure that out.  I think I’ve got much of his side of the family traced back to the 1400’s.  I also like to work around the house – paint, yardwork, planting, different home projects.
WHBC: Your downtime seems like it keeps you busy too!  So how long have you been working here?
T: Since the very beginning.  I started as a server, then moved on to bartending, then managing.
WHBC: What position do you like working the best?
T: Bartending I think.  I get to spend more time with the customers and can stand and talk to people.  I don’t have to leave their table and come back at all.  I like having that personal time with them because I like to laugh and joke with people.  And the money is good too!
WHBC: Do you have a favorite regular customer?
T: I’m sure I’m going to leave people out.  If I had time to think I could give you a whole list.  Ed, 3 o’clock Bob, Larry, Ed & Cindy, Mark, Megan & Scott, Tom.  It’s funny though because Bob is becoming more of 2:30 Bob.  Later in the week, we have a group that comes in around 3 and takes up the bench in the bar.  They get loud sometimes and I don’t think Bob cares for it.  I like seeing his facial expressions when he reacts to what they’re doing behind him.  He likes to just sit and have quiet conversation on his corner of the bar, so he’s coming earlier now!
WHBC: I’m sure he can be quite expressive!  What’s the funniest or strangest thing that you’ve seen from behind the bar?
T:  Well, the time one of Lee’s sons came in and called Preston “Daddy” was really funny.  A lot of people get the two of them confused; they’re both tall and lanky with dark hair.  The other day a guy by the name of Will came in for lunch.  We were trying to figure out what he did for a living because he was dressed up in a black suit and tie.  I had a long conversation with him – he was very pleasant and positive.  It really made my day speaking with him.  I never found out where he was from or anything.  He tipped well and bought a girl at the bar a couple drinks then left.  Anyway, I googled his name from his charge receipt and turns out he once played for the Seahawks and the Jaguars!
WHBC: Right on!  That’s awesome you had such a great conversation with him and he never even mentioned it!  So speaking about being famous, what was your childhood dream?
T:  To be an actress. I was in plays all throughout school, but never did anything with it.
WHBC: Did you go to college?
T: Oh geez.  Yes. Haha.I went to Virginia Wesleyan and studied all sorts of crazy stuff.  I should have just started with the basics, but instead tried to figure out what I wanted to do and just ended up overwhelmed and quit.  I should have had a plan.  I thought I wanted to study psychology, but never pursued it.  I went back later to TCC for basic ed stuff, then started working at a pharmacy until 2009.  We moved out here and I became a stay at home mom and volunteered at the animal shelter.  Which I’d like to do more of!
WHBC: Yeah, I guess having a plan going into school is probably a good thing.  I can relate though!  So now to the fun stuff.  What’s your favorite TV show?
T: Oh gosh.  Big Brother.  I am absolutely addicted to that show.  I guess frustrated if the DVR doesn’t record for some reason, so I set it up to record two hours after it’s supposed to end so I don’t miss it!
WHBC:Oh wow – I haven’t watched that show in forever! haha.  Last question…and since I know you’ve already thought your answer out for this I will ask what superpower you would have if given the choice?
T:I would be a medium.  Try not to make me sound crazy here, but I have these dreams sometimes.  Premonitions.  And I think if I was a medium I could really help give people peace after their loved ones have passed.  What a wonderful thing that would be.
WHBC:You don’t sound crazy at all!  That’s so interesting.  Thanks for hanging out today!

Want to know what it’s like working with Tami?  Read on…
Liz: “Tami is really easy going.  She’s funny but knows when she can joke around and when she has to be serious.”
Pam: “She can’t count money haha.  She always comes up with different amounts when she counts the drawer. Seriously, Tami is fun to work with, as everyone here is.  Our customers really seem to like her.”
Kait: “Tami is such a pleasure to work with!  She always has a beautiful smile on her face as she prepares to take on the day.  She is very approachable and easy going!”
So basically, Tami rocks!
Tami 3
Tami 1
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Dave

This week’s spotlight is on Dave.  Apparently, he’s been waiting forever for his interview.  Sorry I took so long, Dave!  So read on and let’s get to know him!
Dave 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Dave Walker
Age: 42, Birthday February 21
Position: Chef/Kitchen Manager
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Non Wontons 
Education: Plum High School, PA

WHBC: Hey Dave – so tell me how long you’ve been here.  Since the start?
D: Before we opened actually.  I helped with the construction.
WHBC: How did you find out about the position open here?
D: I saw it on Facebook.  And I knew Robert.
WHBC: Does everyone know Robert?!
D: Ha! Yeah, I used to go up to the Grille and shoot pool.  Knew him from there.
WHBC: Where were you working before this?
D: I was at the Smithfield Inn for 13 years.  I left there to go to the Cypress Cove Country Club, but only stayed there for 6 months because it was boring and not at all busy.
WHBC:  So you’ve been a chef quite a while.  Is this always what you wanted to do?
D: I watched my mom and grandma cook while I was growing up.  I moved here in 1986 and started working at Fire and Ice in Hampton as a dishwasher.  I showed an interest in cooking and one of the chefs there gave me a shot.  Started teaching me and I ended up running the kitchen there before they closed.
WHBC: Why this profession?
D: I love food. haha.  I like to see people eating my food and being happy.  How can I say this…Food brings people together.  I come from a big Italian family and that’s just what we did.  We all got together on Sunday, ate, and had fun.
WHBC: Well said! So did you help create the menu here?
D: Not in the beginning.  Robert had ideas for pub/bar food and my experience was more in fine dining.  I do it now though.
WHBC: Which dishes are your babies?
D: The meatloaf, a different chicken sandwich, the fried green tomatoes, and the marinara is my recipe too.
WHBC: The meatloaf is one of my favorites! So being the manager, you still work the line too, right?  How do you get yourself and the guys through when it gets slammed and you’ve got tickets coming out all over the place?
D: We just focus, stay calm, and do what we have to do.  I say don’t let one screw up slow you down.  Get past it and move on.
WHBC: That’s pretty solid advice. If I were to ask the line, what would they say about working with you?
D: Haha.  I think they’d say I’m fun to work with and that I let everyone be themselves and be creative.
WHBC: What is your favorite part about working here of all places?
D:  I know everyone says this, but the people.  They’re fun to work with and this is a fun place to work.  Lee is an awesome boss and looks out for everybody.
WHBC: Do you have a favorite person to work with?
D:  No, I don’t play favorites.  I really like working with all of them!
WHBC: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while working?
D: This just happened not too long ago.  I was cooking pork butts to finish them in the oven.  Tom pulled them out and some grease spilled out without him knowing.  It wasn’t long until the oven caught fire and I had to run for the fire extinguisher to put it out!
WHBC: Hahah.  That is very reminiscent of Thanksgiving at my house a few years ago.  Turkey grease spilled and caught the oven on fire. haha.
WHBC: So when you’re not working, what are you up to?
D: I just hang out with friends, shoot my guns ad play corn hole.  I think it would be cool to have a corn hole tournament between the local restaurants.  But we’d have to not be working to be able to do that!
WHBC: That would be fun, although I suck at cornhole!  So tell me about your family.
D: Most of my family is still back in Pittsburgh.  My kids are here in Smithfield.  I have four kids; they’re 19, 18, 16, and 12.  Jacob and Justin both work here.  And I have a 1 year old grandson.
WHBC: And he’s adorable!  So tell me something the world might not know about Mr. Dave Walker.
D: I’m nicer than my coworkers think.  And I like to work on cars.  My dad and grandpa taught me while I was growing up and it just stuck with me.  I’d like to restore my truck one day soon.
WHBC: So are you ready for the weird questions?  I like to save these for last! haha
D: I’ll tell you right now the super power I’d want – to get rid of stupidity! haha.
WHBC: Wouldn’t that be something?! So my question to you then is if you were a time traveler, where and when would you go?
D: I think I’d go to the early 1900s to Italy.  That’s where my family is from and I’d like to see it. And I’ve never been.
WHBC: Have you ever been out of the country?
D: Just recently actually.  We went on a cruise to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Caymans.  We got to swim with sting rays and snorkel the coral reefs.  In Mexico we hung out on the beach.  I didn’t like Jamaica though – people were pushy and there were a lot of drugs.  The island was beautiful though.
WHBC: Last question – what’s your catchphrase?  If I were to ask around, how would people finish this sentence?  Dave always says…
D: Now I can’t tell you that because they all have the F word in them. hahah
WHBC: Yes, then best to save those I guess.  Haha.  Thanks for talking with me – it was fun!

So I’m doing something a little different – giving it a try, spicing things up, stirring the pot… you get it.  Keep reading to see what some of Dave’s coworkers had to say about him.

I asked what it is like to work with Dave.
Nick: ” It’s intimidating, but rewarding.  He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.  He’s a really good role model.”
Sam: “He awful, the worst ever.  He beats us when no one is looking.  Seriously… he’s really great.  No complaints here.  Hopefully I won’t get fired for saying the first haha.”
Tammy: “You gotta keep his water jug refilled.  If he’s got water he’s happy.  If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, he’s happy.  He doesn’t like confrontation.  Dave is very focused.  He’s hilarious and sarcastic.  If you don’t know him, some might take it personally, but you can’t.  It’s all in fun.  Dave is super creative, hard working, the energy of the kitchen, has a great laugh, and can whip up some of the best desserts I’ve ever had.  That’s saying a lot since I don’t really eat sweets.  When he’s working, I know whatever comes our way, we can get through it!”
Dave 3 Dave 1
Posted in Staff spotlights | Continue reading...

Meet Will

Welcome to this week’s staff spotlight.  Let’s have a chat with Will, shall we?
WIll 2
Quick Facts:
Name: Will Pruden
Age: 29, Birthday May 15th
Position: Dishwasher/prep cook
Hometown: Smithfield, VA
Favorite WHBC  Beer: Isle of Wheat
Favorite WHBC Food: Chicken Wings
Education: Smithfield High School

WHBC: Hey Will!  I’ll start with the basics; how long have you worked here?
W: Since day 1.  My dad had looked into doing some woodworking here and I asked him if they were hiring.  Came in and filled out an application and the rest is history.
WHBC: What position did you start in?
W: I started out cooking.  I got to stand over in the little corner with AC when I did dishes, so I kind of just moved over there.
WHBC: What’s your favorite position of the three you’ve worked?
W: Prep for sure.  It’s the easiest and nobody really bothers you.  I just throw my headphones in and get to work.
WHBC: What’s your favorite thing about working here?
W: Time flies.  You’ll be working and it’s one minute and then you look up and two hours has passed.
WHBC:  Do you have a favorite person to work with and why?
W: Meagan because she gives me back rubs. haha
WHBC: I should start working in the pub more often if that’s the case!  You work full time; what do you do in your spare time?
W: Yeah I work 5-7 shifts a week.  When I’m not working I just like to sit down and relax on my back porch.  I like to go fishing all along the James.  I’m also a commercial fisherman; oystering and crabbing.  I’m the resident oyster shucker here.  My family owns Brown’s Marina in Rescue, so I’ve been doing that a while.
WHBC: You were born here?  Have you ever left or wanted to leave?
W: Yup born here, and no I don’t want to leave.  This is where it’s at; there’s water everywhere.  I like vacations, but I like living here.
WHBC: Your family is here also, I assume. How many siblings do you have?
W: Two older brothers.  They tormented me and made me into the person I am today!
WHBC: Haha.  Do you have a favorite childhood memory?  Anything that sticks out that you’ll always remember?
W: So, I got my thumb stuck in my grandpa’s pickup.  There’s a little hole in the tailgate and I was pushing my thumb in there and it got stuck.  We had to drive cross the JRB to the hospital so they could use the jaws of life to get my hand free.  The paramedics had to ride in the bed of the truck with me, we had a police escort, it was a pretty big deal.
WHBC: Oh my gosh haha!!  You’re good to go now though, right?  Two working thumbs?
W: *gives me a double thumbs up and a big grin*
WHBC: Excellent.  What is something a lot of people might not know about you?
W:  I guess that I can tell you anything you want to know about the water or seafood.  I’ve been on the water my whole life.  I know all the waterways very well.
WHBC: Cool!  So, weird question time.  Because that’s kind of my thing.  I’ve heard you’re an animal person.  If you could come back in another life as an animal, what would you choose?
W:  A turtle for sure.  They live a very chill life.
WHBC: You seem pretty laid back yourself.  Do you have any life words of wisdom?
W: I guess I’d say not all who wander are lost.
WHBC: Tolkien is very wise!  Will, thank you for the interview!
Will 1
Posted in Uncategorized | Continue reading...